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Shad in the Classroom
Photo Credit: NC Wildlife Resources Commission
For the latest information on this project from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, click here.
Shad in the Classroom is a collaborative project that provides students with an understanding of the science process, inspiration for careers in science, and a desire to protect our waterways, particularly in the APNEP region. This project allows students to gain hands-on experience raising American shad from egg to releasable fry. This effort is a collaboration led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, with substantial financial support from APNEP. Other contributing partners include Partnership for the Sounds, NC State University, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the NC Division of Water Quality and the NC Chapter of American Fisheries. The objective of this project is to build an understanding of the life history of shad and an appreciation for our natural world.
North Carolina’s rivers in the APNEP region and their floodplain habitat are important spawning grounds for anadromous fish, including the American shad. American shad populations are well below historic levels. Factors affecting the decline of American shad in its historical range include dam construction, overfishing, and water pollution. Shad runs no longer exist in areas where they used to thrive, and they are an important food source for many species both in the coastal and estuarine systems. A fisheries management plan is in place that seeks to restore American shad populations to sustainable levels. Shad in the Classroom is an important outreach tool for raising students’ and communities’ consciousness on American shad and its management in the APNEP region.
Shad in the Classroom has three major components. First, elementary school classrooms are equipped with the materials to raise shad, which include aquariums and shad eggs. Next, teachers are provided with training to facilitate the program, which includes a one day training on the process of raising shad and an overnight canoe workshop on the Roanoke river to learn about the estuarine ecosystem. Finally, teachers are provided with multimedia presentations and high definition movies which can be used to complement instruction.